Written by Rachel Dong & Barry Choi
3 minute read
F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”. September is National Self-Improvement Month, a perfect opportunity to start anew and reach those personal development goals that you’ve been putting off the whole summer. As the seasons change, take a look at yourself and your life and see what areas you can make progress in – whether it’s relationships, physical health, mental wellness, or financial habits. The process doesn’t have to be stressful; in fact, we’ve compiled 5 simple suggestions on where to start in identifying and improving your lifestyle this September.
1. Physical fitness
When people think about improving themselves, many start with the mirror – in other words, their physical appearance and fitness. Exercising is one method to improve fitness. It’s a great way to feel more vital and healthy in your day-to-day life, as it also has powerful mental benefits, releasing endorphins that make you happier.
When starting exercising, it’s great to set a SMART fitness goal. However, don’t be discouraged if you find yourself slacking off some days. The mantra to remember is to take each day in stride, and to not berate yourself for missing a workout or not eating healthily in the past. Remember to always be kind and encouraging to yourself, and be proud of your progress no matter what!
2. Mental health
Another important aspect of self-improvement is mental wellness. Improving your mental health can be done through a number of different forms, and is deeply personal and individualized. When considering how to do so, think about your own experience and lifestyle, how you feel about it, and how you want to continue from now on.
Some examples of steps to improve your mental health could be reaching out to old friends whom you cherish and miss, doing relaxation activities such as taking walks or doing yoga, practicing gratitude in your everyday life, or reaching out to a therapist or confidant. It could be taking up new hobbies like gardening, or picking up an old one, like playing childhood video games. Mental health improvement looks different for everyone, and whatever form your journey takes is valid.
Healthy and strong relationships are often a vital part of people’s lives. Whether it’s your friends, significant other, family, coworkers, or mentors, committing to improving your relationships is always a good method for personal development. For example, this could take the form of showing affection more to your friends and support network.
However, there is also another aspect of maintaining healthy relationships: pruning the bad ones. This Self-Improvement Month, think about the relationships in your lives – the good and the bad – and consider whether the bad ones are worth your energy and commitment.
Are you fully present in your life? Or are you drifting from day to day, with a million thoughts flying around your brain, never completely focused on the task at hand? For many of us leading busy lifestyles, we find ourselves always stressed about upcoming events, never able to concentrate and enjoy the present moment. To counter that, think about adding some mindfulness exercises to your life.
What does that look like? Well, it could be as simple as practicing mindful eating, where you pause to consider the delicious flavors, the various ingredients, and the lengthy creation process of the food you are enjoying. Another effective method is doing mindfulness exercises, such as guided meditations (many available on YouTube for free!) or mindful breathing exercises. You can follow videos professionals have created, or just put on your favorite peaceful instrumentals and relax – find whatever works for you!
5. Focus on your finances
If you’re not concerned about your fitness levels or your mental state, you could focus on your finances this month instead. Just about everyone could improve somewhere when it comes to their money, so pick something that needs work and get to it!
Improving your credit score or getting out of debt are two ways you can give your finances a boost. Both of those will put you in a better position in the future. If those two areas aren’t a concern for you, you could work on something that you’ve been pushing off such as investing with a robo advisor or setting up a Registered Education Savings Plan for your child.
No one is expecting you to get your money in order overnight. But if you work on one thing this month, you may not have to worry about it again.
There you have it: 5 simple ways to aid your self-improvement journey this month! Remember that a change doesn’t have to be major to have widespread, extensive effects in your life in the long run. What’s important is consistency and positivity in your commitments, always.